to England with a weeks notice seems like adventure. Don’t get me wrong, a trip across the pond is always exciting but when you have just over a week to plan it, things can be rough. As work would have it, I ended up having an adventure in England last week. By adventure, I mean 28 hours straight without sleep (twice – once on the way there, once on the way back), four planes, two trains, a bus, a two and a half hour wait in the customs line, and a forty five minute walk from the airport to the hotel in which I definitely got lost.
Let me explain
a little more about this adventure. At my day job, we’re a strong, well known, and reputable brand…in the U.S. For the last five years, we’ve been doing a good job building a reputation in the Middle East and South East Asia. Europe, on the other hand, has been a little tougher to get in to. So, when a trade show in the UK came to our attention just one and a half weeks before opening day, we decided it was a good idea for us to attend. By us, it was me. So the fun began.
arrangements were top of list. If I couldn’t secure a flight and hotel, then no use in going. Within a few minutes, I discovered flights wouldn’t be a problem. Direct to Birmingham from Chicago was out but as long as I didn’t mind a stop in Dublin or Frankfurt, I was good. Oh, I could have done a direct to Heathrow but then I had a 45 minute train ride to get to the main train station where I’d take another hour and twenty minute ride to Birmingham. I leaned toward the flight layover. Airports are harder to get lost in. Hotel reservations were up next. That’s where I hit a snag.
other people wanted to stay just across the street from the convention center. Unfortunately, most of the others had enough foresight to book the hotel more than a week in advance. My options were to, 1) stay in a hotel about 8 miles from the convention center and take the train everyday or, 2) stay in what appeared to a be fairly seedy place within walking distance. What did I do? I closed the browser without booking anything. I just didn’t have it in me at the time to book a trip that I knew would be exhausting without travel challenges.
days later (Monday – exactly one week before I needed to leave) I checked hotels again. Much to my surprise, a room at the Crowne Plaza right next door to the exhibition hall opened up. I immediately opened another browser to see if airfare prices had skyrocketed in the previous two days. Luckily, they stayed the same! So, with the travel stars aligning, I booked both the hotel and airfare for my last minute trip to the UK.
back in the U.S., I’m happy to report the trip was a success. I met some interesting people, acquired some insight on the market, learned a few of the minor differences in terminology, and booked a booth space for 2019. Expansion into the UK and hopefully other parts of Europe is exciting. It will come at a price though. No, not just the price of airfare and hotels but rather the price of time away from home. As exciting as international travel can be, it is difficult. I’m hopeful that with additional sales over the next few years, I’m ultimately able to meet my FIRE goal just a little bit faster. Time will tell…